Saturday, January 28th, 2012. Entering one of the newest – if not the newest – bar in Ottawa, I was brought back to a time before I was even alive. It seemed like 1982, and the night felt fresh, at least for my young self. Mugshots, located on 75 Nicholas St. attached to the current hostel and ex-prison, seemed to be the place to be. The brick walled, bar was packed. For such a new bar, why was this place holding all of the rage, and excitement? The answer is The Nils FC. These four guys, all at an age which it's impolite to ask, were still rocking hard, harder than most of the punk bands I've seen pass through this city. Forming their "Montreal based" band originally in 1978, they titled themselves The Nils. They went through 9 members in total. One being a brother, Alex Soira, who has sadly passed away, from an original member, who still stands and plays today. After the death of Alex Soira, who sang and strummed a 6 string harder and faster than most people in the scene at the time, the boys called it quits. As a tribute for this deceased band mate, Carlos Soira, bass player of The Nils, took on his little brother's role of lead vocals to recreate the band as the The Nils FC. On their recent tour, Ottawa was lucky enough to see their show. Carlos, who is now on guitar and vocals, played some of the band's older tunes, as well as some new songs written by himself.
The night kicked off with 3 "Ottawa based", punk-rock bands. Opening the show was Shot Nerves, second to come on was Benevenstanciano, and third was, Mothers Children. Each one of these bands did a remarkably good job. In fact, not only was this a chance to see the legendary punk-rock band, The Nils FC, it was also a tape release for Shot Nerves. During the last intermission, the bar filled up and I wouldn't be surprised if it had reached its maximum capacity. When it was time for the final band, I stood on my toes peering through many heads. A man steps onto the floor, flicking his half-stack switch from stand-by to on, he throws on his guitar. Following the 6 strings, is the rhythm section, the guitar starts tuning, the drummer tweaking the angles of each shell and cymbal. A small jam breaks out naturally with the "three piece" band, and then out comes front man Carlos.Soira with his bass guitar in hand, half stack checked, vocals amplified, The Nils FC dive into their first song. With a strong lead guitar, smooth bass lines, abrasive vocals and drum beats that go from as poppy as C.J. Ramone to as powerful as Marky Ramones' beats’, the band conquered. Blasting out song after song, The Nils FC showed Ottawa what they were truly made out of, and that their love for the music has not wandered. They played such a strong performance that I felt shivers run through my body both up and down and side to side. The band ripped through the final song as if it were as easy as breathing air, and announced that if the crowd clapped and cheered loud enough, they would indeed play an encore. Ya, right. Better than an encore: we, the crowd, experience a rare, Sid Vicious-meets-Keith Moon event, for a time were in. Carlos Soira, turns his back, and then jumps directly on to the drum kit behind. Collapsing the drum kit, Carlos himself falls, along with drummer, Sebastien de Champlain, the crowd roars in awe. All in all, this show made for a great old-school, in-your-face, punk-rock evening. The Nils FC: still playing strong.